1. The New Boy (part I)

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It⁠ was a quarter past eight, and Damien was sitting in the back of his first period Calculus class, bored out of his skull and half delirious from lack of sleep. He'd been up deep into the night putting the finishing touches on the last chapter of one of his fanfics, and by the time he'd finished editing and getting it posted to Tumblr and Archive of Our Own, it was nearly three in the morning.

He groaned. How was he expected to get through a block Math class with Mrs. Craft? Arguably the foulest and somehow still the most boring teacher in all of Westlake Prep. It seemed an impossible feat to be simultaneously a nasty, mean spirited teacher and a boring one, but in all the time Damien had been in Westlake, she had always been the worst. Even when she hadn't even been his teacher she had been awful. Always yelling at students in the halls, or otherwise getting them in trouble every chance she could.

Damien scrolled through his Tumblr dashboard on his phone, in search of something, anything, that might help him stay awake, but it seemed that most of his fellow fandom members were just getting to bed themselves. He would have to stay awake on his own then and try to pretend as though he gave a shit about whatever nonsensical mathematical problem Mrs. Craft was posing this year. It was, after all, only the first day of the new year, yet in true Craft fashion, she was already assigning them actual work, rather than going over the syllabus as the rest of the teachers no doubt would. She'd probably give them a quiz too. 

Damien tried to remind himself that after this year he would no longer have to deal with Mrs. Craft, or anyone else at Westlake for that matter. After graduation he would finally be able to go anywhere he wanted. So long as where he wanted was Oxford, to follow in his father's footsteps. Damien tried not to think too hard on that. His life had been meticulously planned out since birth. Even his conception had been perfectly timed so that Damien would be born in the Fall, just after the Summer galas, but before the Winter season. His education had been meticulously planned— as had his future. There was no room for deviation. Damien had known this since childhood. It was expected he would carry on the family name and legacy. He would get married to a respectable girl of respectable upbringing and they would give birth to Damien Alexandre Carmichael IV. Anything else simply wasn't an option. He knew his place and didn't bother to argue that fact. It was easier not to.

Damien sighed, pushing his long blond hair out of his eyes. He had been growing it out since last year, one of the few things he had any control over anymore, especially since he was no longer playing lacrosse. His father had said his long hair made him look like his mother, and he wasn't wrong. The two shared similar features, their pale complexions, white-blond hair, and a well-defined jawline. About the only things he had gotten from his father, beyond his name, were his nose and his blue-green eyes with flecks of gold.

He had spent the better part of the last twenty minutes tapping his pencil indignantly against his notebook, trying to will a new story into existence but his mind was decidedly blank. A first for him. He didn't like this feeling. He had always been able to jump from one story to the next without much thought. Halfway through most ideas, he was already working on, he'd have some sort of note for the next project, if not fully writing several scenes or pieces of dialogue for any given story. So he couldn't help but wonder why he was suddenly at a loss for how to bloody write? He'd been writing in the Wisher fandom for two years, and he'd been reading the trilogy since he was small. He knew the stories and the characters by heart, or at least his own incarnation of them. So why did everything suddenly feel so difficult?

The door to Mrs. Craft's classroom burst open in the middle of her droning lecture; all eyes turned to the newcomer, who looked somewhat sheepish with everyone staring at him. Damien swallowed, examining the boy currently standing awkwardly in the doorframe. He had the sudden and very strange thought that he would later recount onto his Tumblr that very same day: Have you ever seen someone so unbelievably attractive and thought, wow, I'm gay.

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